An example of absence of leadership and weak determination
More than two years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Harout and Haigan Ohannessian, the well-known benefactors of the Armenian weekly Ohannessian school of Sharjah (UAE), pledged to donate 2 million UAE dirhams (about US$ 550.000) for the upgrading of the school from weekly to daily.
This generous financial commitment created an emotional wave inside the community and many thought that time has come to realize the dream of having the second daily Armenian school in the Gulf region (a daily school functions in Kuwait since the late 1960s).
This was an exceptionally welcome news for a community that still preserves, to a large extent, the Armenian language and identity. The majority of the Armenian population in the UAE has come from traditional Middle Eastern communities that highly value the importance of the daily Armenian school and know that without it, the process of preserving the national spirit will remain incomplete.
Several months after the grand donation, the Council of the Armenian Community of Dubai and the Northern Emirates decided to send a questionnaire to the parents of the children who already attended the weekly school, enquiring about their desire to send their children to a daily Armenian school, and asking about their expectations and prospects in this regard.
The results of the questionnaire were announced only on 20 October 2009, more than two years after the original initiative.
Regardless of the doubtful methods applied in preparing the questionnaire and the techniques used in gathering, compiling and analyzing the results, rumors were around, for long time, about the disappointing outcome (in the language of numbers, less than 30 parents were positive about sending their children to the proposed school, out of 100 parents involved).
Azad-Hye had asked several times to make the results transparent and to invite all parents and those involved in the Armenian social life to round-table discussions on this vital topic.
It is important, for example, to know why only 30 parents or so answered the questionnaire. Why the Council did not find a way to invite each of the non-answering parents to a sort of friendly meeting, at least with the aim of understanding the reason behind the unconcerned stance? After all, if a parent is sending a child to the weekly school, then the probability of sending the same child to the daily school is relatively high and deserves to be investigated beyond the limits of a passive questionnaire.
More than two years of meetings, speculations, rumors are now condensed in a one-page report circulated today by the National Council, as a result of ?research?. Read the report here (PDF format, 1 page, Armenian).
This report indicates for the first time that one of the problems facing the upgrading of the weekly school has been the non-conformity of the existing building to the UAE Ministry of Education?s educational specifications. However, it is not clear when this fact was made known to the Council. Was it before or after the questionnaire? If it was before the questionnaire, why then the questionnaire was carried on? If it was after the questionnaire, why, the people behind the questionnaire did not think first to check about the compliance of the building before typing the questionnaire? Another very logical question: why it took more than two years to find out that the building is not fit? A last enquiry on the subject: Is the same building suitable for the currently functioning weekly school?
The report ends with this conclusion: ?The Council announces that the current plan under the above-mentioned circumstances is not achievable. But as it deeply believes in the necessity and significance of having an Armenian daily school in our community, it will, for the sake of materializing this goal, examine all the presented suggestions and provided opportunities, with complete seriousness and will work for the purpose of accomplishing them?.
The above words are full of vision, sense of leadership and determination, the exact absence of which has led us to the current situation.